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CSREES Update - December 19, 2008

CSREES Update, from the Office of the Administrator, is a biweekly newsletter for research, education, and extension partners at land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions.


  • From the Administrator
  • CSREES Releases AFRI Funding Opportunity Announcement
  • USDA and DOE Will Announce $25 Million for Biomass Research and Development Initiative
  • IPA Joins F4HN
  • New PAS Program Specialist
  • CSREES News


  • Federal Biomass Board Releases Biofuel Feedstocks Report
  • USDA's "Stocks for Food" Program Turns Raw Commodities into Food -- Bartering Program Feeds Millions in Need


  • Capitol Christmas Tree
  • New Multistate Project in Midwestern Communities is Launched 
  • Linking Biophysical Models and Economic Models of Biofuel Production and Environmental Impacts

Awards and Recognition
  • Bower and Devereaux Earn Awards



From the Administrator

As 2008 comes to a close, the staff, partners, and those served by CSREES have a great deal to reflect upon and much for which to be thankful. Congress reaffirmed the importance of science and education for agriculture and laid the groundwork for expansion of our programs, in size, scope, and impact. Moreover, agency staff rose to the challenges of implementing a major new program—the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, while preparing to expand participation in the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and transforming several programs to a new competitive base.  We completed several audits, improved our electronic systems, and added new staff, while others took on “double duty” and focused their efforts on new responsibilities.  All of this demonstrated the commitment to advance science and education for agriculture.

Some things we have been working on for years came to maturity, such as eXtension, formally launched in February and winner of a Secretary’s Honor Award in October. Others are in their infancy, most notably the establishment of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. All of these activities demonstrate the hard work, dedication, and innovativeness of the CSREES and university agricultural science and education professionals. 2009 promises even more challenges and opportunities. I am confident that working together we will accomplish much, in service to food and agriculture, the environment, human health and nutrition, and communities.

Colien Hefferan


CSREES released the FY 2009 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Program Announcement. The FY 2009 Request for Applications (RFA) for AFRI is expected to appear in early 2009 on the CSREES and the Grants.gov Web sites. The RFA delay will allow us to provide the most up-to-date application package and will be available through Grants.gov.

AFRI addresses six priority areas for agriculture: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition and health; 4) renewable energy, natural resources and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities.

AFRI will support grants to address key problems of national, regional, and multistate importance in sustaining all components of agriculture. The flexibility in programming provided by the 2008 Farm Bill, and supported by stakeholders, allows for a variety of projects that will be reflected in the FY 2009 AFRI request for applications. These include single-function research, education, or extension projects, as well as integrated, multifunctional research, education, and extension projects.

USDA and DOE Will Announce $25 Million for Biomass Research and Development Initiative

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) are expected to announce, in the next few days, $25 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products. The anticipated deadline for pre-applications will be January 30, 2009. Interested parties should watch the CSREES Web site for the official funding opportunity announcement.

IPA Joins F4HN

Dr. Lisa Lauxman joined the Families, 4-H, and Nutrition (F4HN) Unit on December 1, on a 1-year Interagency Personnel Agreement (IPA) from the University of Arizona. As an IPA, Lauxman will provide leadership for the Children, Youth, and Families at-Risk program, including grants, project management, and professional development. She will have responsibility for national 4-H youth development programming efforts and strategies for traditionally underserved populations, including urban settings. She will have responsibility for partnership strategies for youth programming efforts with 1890 and 1994 institutional partners, and assist in the coordination of 4-H youth and family military programs and curriculum.

Lauxman grew up on a Kansas dairy farm as a 4-H member. Her education and professional experiences have ties to two land-grant institutions–Kansas State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics Extension, and the University of Arizona, where she earned a master’s and doctorate in educational psychology. She also has a master’s in business administration from Emporia State University. With over 28 years in two different states, Lauxman has been involved with 4-H youth development at the county, state, and national level. Presently, she serves as the special assistant to the director for Outreach and Engagement and as curriculum coordinator, 4-H Youth Development.  You can reach Lauxman at llauxman@csrees.usda.gov or 202-720-5833; she is located in room 4328 Waterfront Centre.

New PAS Program Specialist

CSREES Plant and Animal Systems Unit (PAS) welcomes Emily Morehouse as program specialist for the Processing, Engineering and Technology group. Morehouse was raised in central Illinois and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a B.S. degree in agricultural, environmental, communications and education and a M.S. in agricultural education with programmatic focus in agricultural safety and health. She served 2½ years as a 4-H youth development specialist for Kansas State Research and Extension in Lawrence, KS, prior to joining CSREES. As a program specialist, Morehouse will work closely with the AgrAbility and youth farm safety education and certification programs, nanotechnology, and biomass research and development initiatives. You can reach Morehouse at emorehouse@csrees.usda.gov or 202-401-6825; she is located in room 3414, Waterfront Centre.


USDA Honors California Researchers for Work in Developing Flood-Tolerant Rice

WASHINGTON, December 5, 2008 − USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Gale Buchanan presented the National Research Initiative (NRI) Discovery Award to Julia Bailey-Serres at the University of California-Riverside, Pam Ronald at the University of California-Davis, and Dave Mackill at the International Rice Research Institute. The team received the honor for their genetics research on flood-tolerant rice. "This research will have a tremendous impact on the development of other crops resistant to flooding, potentially alleviating crop loss and protecting environmental resources," Buchanan said. "Since rice is a staple food for more than 3 billion people globally, this project may also help farmers in developing countries."

Approximately one-fourth of the global rice crop is grown in low-lying fields prone to seasonal floods. Rice is the only cereal crop that can withstand submergence; however, most rice varieties will die if fully submerged more than 4 days, costing producers an estimated $1 billion in annual crop losses. The trio identified a gene that enables rice to survive complete submergence. The discovery allows for development of a new rice variety that can withstand flooding.

The NRI Discovery Award highlights exceptional scientific and economic impacts of NRI-funded projects and recognizes outstanding researchers in agriculture who have supported CSREES mission. The award includes a $10,000 supplement and a 1-year extension of the project. Visit the CSREES Newsroom to read USDA Honors California Researchers for Work in Developing Flood-Tolerant Rice.

CSREES Lists Open Requests for Grant Applications

Funding Opportunity

Closing Date


Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (formerly Extension Indian Reservation Program)

January 5, 2009

 Joan F. Gill

Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordination and Support Program

January 6, 2009

 Martin A. Draper

International Science and Education Competitive Grants Program

January 16, 2009

 Patricia Fulton

Higher Education Challenge Grants

January 30, 2009

 Gregory Smith

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy: A Joint Research Solicitation - USDA, DOE

February 18, 2009

Chavonda Jacobs-Young

CSREES advertises all of its funding opportunities through "Find Grant Opportunities" on the Grants.gov Web site. This site is searchable and contains summary information on all federal funding opportunities with links to the full announcements. Users can search announcements by topic, funding agency, and date, as well as subscribe to an e-mail notification service based on these parameters.



USDA's "Stocks for Food" Program Turns Raw Commodities into Food -- Bartering Program Feeds Millions in Need

WASHINGTON, December 4 -- At a time when more and more people need help to feed their families, USDA is using a creative "Stocks for Food" bartering initiative to turn government stocks of commodities, such as cotton, grains, peanuts, and nonfat dry milk, into products such as canned vegetables, meats, and peanut butter to help stock food banks and feeding programs.

"Since November 1, USDA's 'Stocks for Food' program has generated more than $12 million in barter assets to boost assistance to U.S. domestic and foreign nutrition programs," said Mark Keenum, USDA under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. "By the end of December, USDA expects to use the program to provide an additional $11 million worth of canned tuna and $11 million in canned chicken for the Food and Nutrition Service's Emergency Food Assistance Program." In July of 2007, USDA began bartering government-owned bulk commodities with U.S. food processors in exchange for value-added agricultural products to be distributed through USDA's domestic and international food assistance programs. Visit the USDA Newsroom to read the full release USDA’s “Stocks for Food” Program Turns Raw Commodities into Food.

Federal Biomass Board Releases Biofuel Feedstocks Report

WASHINGTON, December 4, 2008 -- The interagency Biomass Research and Development Board released a report on the economic feasibility of developing both farm- and forest-derived biofuel feedstocks to meet national targets for biofuels to reduce gasoline consumption.

Among the report's overall conclusions is that new technologies resulting from research and development are the linchpin to developing a sustainable biofuel industry that meets national targets. Last year's energy bill set out a Renewable Fuels Standard that calls for production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels annually by 2022.

"Our national security, our economy, and the future of the planet require that we explore the development of biofuels in a cost-effective, environmentally sound manner and that we move beyond food crops to include a diverse base of feedstocks," said Dr. Gale Buchanan, USDA chief scientist and under secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, who co-chairs the Biomass Research and Development Board. "This report addresses the constraints and implications of meeting our biofuel production goals and provides invaluable guidance for further research." Visit the USDA newsroom to read the full release Federal Biomass Board Releases Biofuel Feedstocks Report.


Capitol Christmas Tree

Each year, a tree is picked from a different state to travel to the Capitol and stand tall during an official ceremony hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Capitol Christmas Tree lighting, otherwise known as “The People’s Tree,” is a tradition that started in 1970. This year, the tree is from Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest.

Montana 4-H played a huge role in this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree event. On November 21, the 70-foot tree from Bitterroot Forest stopped at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, as a holding place, before traveling to the U.S. Capitol. Young Montana 4-H members created over 65 percent of the tree’s handmade ornaments, using recyclable materials such as coat hangers, milk jugs, barbed wire, horse shoes, soda cans, and old lariats. Each year, hundreds of students from the Capitol Christmas Tree’s home state enter the Capitol Christmas Tree drawing to receive a free trip to Washington, DC, and assist the House Speaker in lighting the tree. Chris Gabrielson, a 4-H member from Havre, MT, was the winner of the ornament drawing. On December 2, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chris lit the 2008 Capitol Christmas Tree.

New Multistate Project in Midwestern Communities is Launched

“Latinos and Immigrants in Midwestern Communities” is a new multistate project that will bring together researchers and extension/outreach specialists with common interests and research agendas related to Latinos and immigrants in Midwestern communities. This effort began October 6 in Clive, IA, at a meeting sponsored by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development. The meeting identified a network of interstate research and outreach working groups that in turn, formalized the plans for the new multistate project. Rubén Martínez, director of the Julián Samora Research Institute at Michigan State, and Jan Flora, professor of sociology at Iowa State University, are committee co-chairs. The project will result in research articles, reports, and special issues of journals that contribute to the advancement of related fields of research and provide the intellectual basis for effective practice related to immigration. The effort is expected to encourage comparative studies and build communities of practice among extension professionals and change-oriented organizations working with Latinos/immigrants. The organizers drew from the SERA-37 multistate project, “The New Hispanic South,” launched with the support of the Southern Rural Development Center just over a year ago. The two projects are linked by listservs to coordinate their efforts. CSREES released a call for participation in the new multistate research and extension project (NC_TEMP 1176) on December 1. Contact the co-chairs or Sally Maggard, national program leader for the CSREES Economic and Community Systems Unit, for more information.

Linking Biophysical Models and Economic Models of Biofuel Production and Environmental Impacts

Researchers and the public alike recognize the complex interactions between human and biophysical systems in the production of food, feed, fiber, fuel, and ecosystem services. One the contemporary issue is biofuel production as an alternative energy source. CSREES co-sponsored a workshop, “Linking Biophysical and Economic Models of Biofuel Production and Environmental Impacts,” November 13-14, to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in biofuel production. CSREES’ partners included Energy Biosciences Institute, the Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research at the University of Illinois, and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) at Michigan State University. About 60 scientists participated in the workshop, including representatives from the United States, Great Britain, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Scientific disciplines included engineering, atmospheric science, soil science, agronomy, biochemistry, ecology, finance, entomology, and environmental science. Nationally and internationally renowned scientists presented their modeling results of biofuel production in the context of crop yields, water quality, greenhouse gas emission, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, land use change, climate change, and life-cycle assessment. Feedstocks included corn, corn stover, switchgrass, miscanthus, and woody biomass. Workshop presentations are available on GLBRC Web site. Contact Fen Hunt, CSREES national program leader for Economic and Community Systems Unit, for more information.


Bower and Devereaux Earn Awards

Donald Bower, University of Georgia, and Matthew Devereaux, University of Tennessee, received awards at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Extension Pre-Conference, November 4, 2008, in Little Rock, AR. The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension hosted the event, which highlighted some of the best family science research and programs from across the county. Bower and Devereaux were recognized for their contributions to the burgeoning field.

Bower was recognized for his contributions to the National Council on Family Relations Education and Enrichment Section.  He also received a lifetime achievement award in Family Science by Caroline Crocoll, CSREES national program leader for Family Science. Bower developed programming in parenting education and youth development, leading to better outcomes for children and families during his 30-year career.

Devereaux received the Family Life Early Achievement Award. Much of Devereaux’s attention focuses on the first 5 years of life. He creates research-based curricula, training, and statewide educational programming for Tennessee’s county agents and child-care professionals.


For a plain text copy of this newsletter, please contact Judy Rude. CSREES UPDATE is published biweekly. The next regular issue is planned for January 7, 2009. Submit news items to newsletter@csrees.usda.gov by December 30, 2008.
Editor: Judy Rude, writer-editor, CSREES Communications Staff. If you have questions about Update, please contact her at jrude@csrees.usda.gov.
To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please send an e-mail message to jrude@csrees.usda.gov. In the body of the message, type: subscribe csrees-update OR unsubscribe csrees-update.
Back issues of CSREES UPDATE are available on the CSREES Web site.
Colien Hefferan, Administrator

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.